Jessica Huinker, “Pink”, Executive Administrator of Operations
Jan Huinker, “Red”, Visionary CEO / Designer / Owner
Amelia Mallan, “Green”, Sales Manager
My name is Jan Huinker. Years ago, I knew I wanted to start my own business upon retirement. So for the fun of it, my daughter, Jessica Huinker, and I started throwing around ideas. We chose to name our business Pinkredgreen Inc. Jessica’s nickname is Pink as she blushes a lot. I have always been called Red due my hair color. Then we chose Green for Jessica’s younger daughter as she is still a little “green” (naïve). I wanted to start a woman-owned and operated business using the talents and passion of the 3 generations in my family.
I designed ARMEASE® (a unique women’s garment that “sleeves” clothing) while still working as an RN at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. When working as a nurse, I wore either business clothing or scrubs. Many of my dresses were sleeveless and my scrubs had short sleeves. My arms would get cold. I wore a long sleeved shirt under for warmth, but it rolled up and made me look lumpy. When I wore a sweater or jacket, it covered my outfit. I wanted to make a simple garment that would “sleeve” my clothing without the lumpy look.
Along the way of designing ARMEASE®, I spoke with many different women with different needs. A breast surgery patient had mentioned to me she wished there was something she could wear that “felt” like a bra, but was very soft. Plus, she was upset because she was going to have to wear compression garments on her arms and she said most of her clothes were sleeveless. A pregnant woman mentioned she wished there was a way to have a cropped shirt to wear under clothes, but not over her stomach. A nursing mother told me how it was such a hassle to pump when she wore a shirt under her scrubs. She said she usually didn’t wear the shirt, but was cold all day. I realized I wanted a garment that would work for all women even though it wasn’t designed yet. There are many factors that influenced my ARMEASE design. Once I knew what I wanted, I made a pattern. I made two samples for myself. It is a unique women’s garment that “sleeves” clothing. The soft rayon fabric from bamboo and front snap avails it to all women including pregnant and nursing mothers. It is so versatile, it can be worn under scrubs, business attire, or patient gowns. It can even be worn over clothing as a short crop jacket. My business was “born.”
After I retired, I researched other women entrepreneurs. I came across articles about the Spanx founder, Sara Blakely. How she started her business really inspired me. Especially, since I was wearing my version of a footless, figure control garment under my slacks! And even though I was just looking to market on a smaller scale, I felt I had something other women would want. I followed some of her ideas such as choosing a distinctive name for the product and getting it Trademarked. I also filed for a design patent, just because getting a patent is on my bucket list!
Initially, I planned to keep my business small, just selling to friends and family. Then a friend mentioned a church expo. I thought, why not, so I started being a vendor at a few expos which were very successful. Part of our success was my granddaughter’s innate ability to “network.” She is a natural, where my daughter and I find it more challenging. To help advertise the expos, my daughter Jessica the Executive Administrator, made a Facebook page for ARMEASE®. Customers at the expos asked if we had a website. Okay, why not? And if I am going to have a website, shouldn’t I have a logo, too? One thing led to another. I then spoke with two buyers at local gift stores. ARMEASE® is now being carried at the Methodist Volunteer Gift Shop and Thrive at the Rochester Athletic Club (RAC) in Rochester, MN. My next move is to make these garments available in stores throughout the region as well as selling them worldwide through my website.
Now retired, I designed ARMEASE® so all women could enjoy the benefits.
So many people think we should try to get on Shark Tank. Who knows? My bucket list includes getting ARMEASE® on Oprah’s Favorite Things! I can dream big, right?
Jan Huinker, Visionary CEO, Designer and Owner of ARMEASE®
Say ARMEASE®, Please!